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Air strike hits flight plans

Ryanair, easyJet, British Airways and Air France cancel flights as air traffic controllers' six-day walkout begins

A NUMBER of flights to and from airports in France have been cancelled as a six-day air traffic controllers strike begins.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) yesterday instructed airlines to cut 20% of their services to and from France, mainly to airports in the south.

Ryanair has cut a several flights to and from France. The airline has said that affected customers would be contacted directly, and has asked people to check its website for updates.

The budget airline has also said that other flights to and from and flying over France may also be affected by the dispute.

Meanwhile, easyJet said on its website that it would cancel some flights to and from Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Orly, and Charles de Gaulle, and said it would inform affected passengers by SMS or email. It also urged clients to check its website for updates.

Between them, Ryanair and easyJet have cancelled 50 more than flights today.

British Airways has cancelled three flights from Heathrow to Lyon, Marseille and Toulouse. It too urged passengers to keep up to date with the ever-changing situation by checking its website.

Air France yesterday said that it expected to operate 90% of its short- and medium-haul flights.

And Irish airline Aer Lingus hoped to operate a full service of flights between Ireland and France, but warned passengers to expect delays.

As reported,the strike by air traffic controllers with the UNSA-ICNA union, which represents less than a quarter of air traffic controllers in France, is set to run until Sunday and is expected to affect a quarter of all flights in and out of the country, mostly in the south and on routes to southern Europe and North Africa.

Disruption is less than had been feared after a second, larger union, cancelled its strike notice following talks with the government.

Most of the UNSA-ICNA members work in the Aix-en-Provence control centre, in southeast France.

The strikers are protesting against planned cuts between 2015 and 2019 that they say will threaten the "necessary performance and modernisation needed to ensure an efficient air navigation service in France".

The cuts form part of the European Commission “Single European Sky” plan, to reduce air navigation costs by organising airspace into nine blocs according to traffic flows, rather than national borders.

Photo: calflier001

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